Footprints: An Online Soap -- Episode #30

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Episode #30
Immediately After #29

Establishing shot.
COURTNEY and HELEN are seated across the desk from DETECTIVE SIMMS, who appears very interested in what Courtney has to say.
SIMMS: Who do you think would send a hitman after you?
COURTNEY: It’s obvious!
Helen looks confused; Simms waits for an answer.
HELEN: (surprised) What? Why?
COURTNEY: She’s had it in for me from day one. She’s obsessed with Jason and seems to think the only way she has any shot of being with him is if she keeps skating with him. Obviously she sees me as a threat to that—
HELEN: But why? Because you were starting to skate again?
COURTNEY: I guess … but Jason told me that Sandy had asked him to choose between skating with either Shannon or me. He said he was going to pick me.
HELEN: There’s no way Shannon could have known that, though.
COURTNEY: That’s the strange part. (beat) Regardless, I think she had something to do with this!
Detective Simms has been listening, intrigued.
SIMMS: Could you explain this whole situation to me?
COURTNEY: Sure … but it might take a while.
TIM and CLAIRE are in the cage. JAMES stands by the door, his hand on top of one of the levers. ALAN stands near him. BRENT, SARAH, and FOUR OFFICERS are on various points of the central walkway.
JAMES: Tim, it’s true that the baby isn’t down here, right?
Tim gives no answer.
JAMES (CONT’D): That’s right, isn’t it?
He stares at Tim, angrily awaiting an answer. His hand is poised to pull the lever down, releasing the cage into the vat of acid.
Tim casts an apologetic look at Claire.
TIM: Yeah, it is. Travis isn’t down here.
SARAH: What??
TIM: We came down here on James’s trail thinking he had kidnapped Travis, but it turned out that he hadn’t.
JAMES: There – do you all get it? I don’t have the baby. Now please, if you would get out of my building and off my property.
He pulls the door open and waves them out.
BRENT: Not so fast, Robbins.
James looks at him questioningly.
BRENT (CONT’D): How stupid do you think we are? First of all, we’re not leaving Tim and Claire down here. There’s no way you’re convincing me that they’re in this cage voluntarily, especially after Tim called me.
James struggles to come up with a response, knowing that if he lets Tim and Claire go, they’ll tell Brent the truth about Travis at some point.
COURTNEY and HELEN sit across from DETECTIVE SIMMS, who is absorbing the story Courtney has just told him.
SIMMS: So you have reason to believe that this Shannon wanted to end your career?
COURTNEY: Exactly. With me out of the picture, she felt she could have Jason totally to herself.
SIMMS: That’s really odd. If you’re right, this girl needs some psychiatric help.
COURTNEY: It didn’t take me too long to figure that out.
HELEN: I still can’t believe Shannon would hire someone to assault you, Courtney … it seems so crazy.
COURTNEY: I know it does. But I swear I’m on the right track.
HELEN: At least we know who the guy who attacked you was.
COURTNEY: Oh, yeah. Detective.
SIMMS: What?
COURTNEY: When was this Dave Roberts guy last seen?
SIMMS: A few months ago, at that club on Fifth Street.
COURTNEY: Oh, I know which one you mean!
SIMMS: Yeah, it’s fairly new. Anyway, he hasn’t been seen since. We haven’t really sent anyone looking for him, since there’s no warrant out on him yet.
COURTNEY: We’ll find him.
Courtney stands up to leave. Simms grabs her by the arm.
SIMMS: Courtney, please … this is police business. Don’t get yourself into any trouble. Leave the investigation up to us.
COURTNEY: Don’t worry, Detective, I will. (beat) Come on, Mom. Let’s head on home.
Helen rises also.
COURTNEY (CONT’D): Thanks for your time, Detective.
SIMMS: No problem.
Courtney and Helen step out into the hallway. Simms peeks his head out the office door.
SIMMS (CONT’D): But please, please don’t go after him yourself, Courtney.
COURTNEY: Don’t worry – I promise I won’t.
Simms closes the door. Helen and Courtney begin to walk down the hallway.
COURTNEY (THINKING):  Like they say, promises are made to be broken.
JAMES holds the door open but is frozen, trying to think of an answer. BRENT, SARAH, and the FOUR OFFICERS are on the central walkway. ALAN stands close to his boss. TIM and CLAIRE are still in the cage, which is pulled over close to the walkway.
BRENT: So, James, why don’t you just let Tim and Claire go?
JAMES: No, I won’t!
BRENT: You have to – this is kidnapping.
JAMES: I sure as hell don’t have to do anything. Alan, call for more men.
ALAN: Sure thing.
Alan pulls out a walkie-talkie and pushes a series of buttons on it.
ALAN: (into walkie-talkie) We need some backup down in the back room.
SARAH: What are you planning to do to us?
JAMES: The same thing I’ve done to Tim and Claire.
BRENT: Not so fast, Robbins! You’re under arrest for kidnapping!
The four police officers move in on James to place him in handcuffs, but he tries mightily to resist. Just then, several large, strong men, James’s GUARDS, enter.
JAMES: Guards – tie these six up at once!
The guards jump into the heap of people wrestling.
The club is filled with its usual patrons, a mixture of seedy-looking men and women. It is certainly not glamorous, but far from being a dump. Blasting rock music fails to conceal the buzz of conversation. COURTNEY and LAUREN enter, looking dazed.
LAUREN: Wow! This is some place.
COURTNEY: This was what I expected … some sleazy joint.
LAUREN: I still can’t believe we got in.
COURTNEY: It didn’t hurt to have those old fake ID’s.
LAUREN: We hadn’t used those in years!
COURTNEY: I know! But they were perfect. That guy at the door couldn’t have cared less if we were legal age or not.
LAUREN: Well, it won’t be too long before we are.
COURTNEY: That’ll be nice. I always get scared we’ll get caught with the fake ID’s.
Lauren shrugs, obviously having fun. The two suburban girls seem very out of place in the glitzy club atmosphere.
LAUREN: So, what first?
Courtney considers this for a moment, then spies the BARTENDER. She points towards him and begins to approach him; Lauren follows.
The bartender is a man in his thirties with a goatee and two rings in his left ear. He is busy pouring a drink for himself. He appears somewhat intimidating, but Courtney is determined.
COURTNEY: Excuse me.
BARTENDER: (turning to her, roughly) What?
COURTNEY: I’d like to ask you about someone.
BARTENDER: (rude) Who would that be?
COURTNEY: A guy named Dave Roberts … remember seeing him here?
BARTENDER: No, can’t say I have.
COURTNEY: (disappointed) Alright. Thanks.
The bartender turns away.
A MAN in his twenties, with a shaved head and a tattoo on his right arm, is sitting at the counter. He turns to Courtney.
MAN: (slightly drunk) I couldn’t help but overhear that you’re looking for a guy. Maybe I could … I don’t know, take his place?
She turns away from the man, disgusted.
COURTNEY: Looks like this was a dead end.
LAUREN: That’s too bad. It was one of the few solid clues you have.
They begin to walk away from the bar. A gorgeous blonde WOMAN in a short, glittery dress rises from the counter and stops them.
WOMAN: (with a slight Southern twang) Excuse me, miss?
WOMAN: I couldn’t help but overhear that you’re looking for Dave Roberts.
LAUREN: You know him?
WOMAN: I think I might be able to help you.
JAMES, BRENT, the FOUR OFFICERS, ALAN, and several of James’s GUARDS wrestle to tie each other up. SARAH stands nearby. TIM and CLAIRE are in the cage.
CLAIRE: Sarah, come here!
Sarah rushes closer to them.
SARAH: What?
CLAIRE: This is a perfect opportunity to get us out of here. Can you undo the lock?
SARAH: I might be able to.
She makes eye contact with Officer #3, who pulls herself away from the brawl quietly.
SARAH (CONT’D): Unlock the cage, please!
OFFICER #3: Where’s all my stuff?
TIM: Down on the floor over there.
OFFICER #3: (seeing it) I’ve got it! Hold on, guys – I’m letting you out.
Another GUARD enters the room and, in a rush, doesn’t see what is going on before he begins to speak.
GUARD: Mr. Robbins, the baby is ready—
He interrupts himself as he sees the brawl. It breaks up and Brent rushes over to him.
BRENT: What’d you say?
GUARD: Nothing.
BRENT: You said the baby is ready.
GUARD: No, I didn’t.
JAMES: No, he didn’t.
BRENT: The baby is here, isn’t he?
JAMES: Of course not.
SARAH: Come on, James, tell us where Travis is.
James looks around at all the waiting faces around him.
SARAH: So, where is he, James?
SARAH, BRENT, JAMES, ALAN, THREE OFFICERS, and several of James’s GUARDS stand throughout the room. TIM and CLAIRE are still locked in the cage, and OFFICER #3 is working to open the lock.
SARAH: Where’s the baby, James?
JAMES: He’s not here – I told you already!
BRENT: You’re so full of it it’s unbelievable. That guard came in to tell you that the baby was ready.
CLAIRE: (nervous) Ready for what?
There is no answer.
CLAIRE (CONT’D): Ready for what, Dad?
JAMES: I don’t know! He’s not here!
SARAH: Give it up, James.
JAMES: (to Officer #3) You – get away from that cage!
OFFICER #3: I don’t think I’ll be doing that.
JAMES: Think again.
He gestures to a few of the guards, who pull her away from the cage.
JAMES (CONT’D): All of you – you leave me with no choice.
SARAH: What are you talking about?
JAMES: See that down there?
He points to the vat of acid.
JAMES (CONT’D): It’s boiling hot acid. And you’re all going in.
Some of the guards lock the door and stand in front of it, blocking the only exit from the room.
COURTNEY and LAUREN talk to the blonde WOMAN in the middle of the crowded, noisy club.
COURTNEY: Do you know Dave Roberts?
WOMAN: You might say that. We used to date.
LAUREN: Do you know where he might be?
WOMAN: I know where his apartment is. Or at least where his latest one was.
COURTNEY: Can you give me the address?
WOMAN: I sure can. Let me write it down.
Courtney hands her a small slip of paper and a pencil. The woman leans over a table to write the information down.
LAUREN: Court, this could be the break we need.
COURTNEY: If we can find this guy, maybe we can get him to confess to working for Shannon. Even if they give him immunity from his prior crimes or something.
LAUREN: It could work.
COURTNEY: I hope it does. It’s my only chance of nailing Shannon for this.
The woman has finished writing. She hands Courtney the slip of paper and the pencil.
WOMAN: Here you go.
COURTNEY: I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this.
WOMAN: It’s no problem. (beat) Do you mind my asking why you’re looking for him?
Courtney searches for an answer.
COURTNEY: Business.
LAUREN: He definitely has some information that we need.
WOMAN: Alright then, ladies … good luck finding him. Let me warn you: Be careful. He’s very dangerous.
CLAIRE and TIM are still in the cage. She is fiddling with the lock. JAMES stands before SARAH, BRENT, and the FOUR OFFICERS menacingly. ALAN and some of James’s GUARDS look on, blocking the door.
JAMES: You’re all going into that acid.
BRENT: Like hell we are.
JAMES: Don’t try anything funny, people. It’s not gonna get you anywhere. (beat) Okay, let’s get them ready.
The guards move in to tie the six new prisoners up. They all fight it but are defeated by the strength of the guards. The officers and Sarah end up sitting on the floor, tied up. Brent is still resisting it.
ALAN: Give it up. You’re done for.
BRENT: I have no intention of getting thrown in there. And I won’t let it happen to my wife, or those innocent officers, either.
JAMES: That’s too bad, isn’t it? ‘Cause it’s gonna happen anyway.
Brent struggles as they try to tie him up. James moves in to help with it himself. Suddenly the sound of metal clinking on the ground is heard. A moment later, James falls forward. Claire is standing behind him, having jumped from the cage and kicked him over. Tim climbs out of the cage as well.
SARAH: How’d you get out of there?
OFFICER #3: I must’ve loosened it enough for them to break it open.
Brent has escaped from the ropes in the skirmish.
BRENT: Thanks, Claire.
CLAIRE: No problem.
A CAR is parked outside a run-down apartment building. The neighborhood looks to be less than respectable.
Establishing shot.
COURTNEY and LAUREN sit in the car, eyeing the building.
COURTNEY: I hope the address that woman gave us is still his real address.
LAUREN: He’s been hiding from the cops for a while, so who knows? But it’s worth a try.
COURTNEY: That’s a good point.
They watch silently for a few moments.
COURTNEY (CONT’D): Wouldn’t it be great if we found him? I’d be able to bust Shannon so quickly, she wouldn’t know what hit her.
LAUREN: It would be cool, Court, but just listen to me – don’t get your hopes up. There’s a really good chance we’ll never find this guy, let alone tonight.
COURTNEY: I know, Lauren … I’m just being optimistic. (beat) Maybe he’ll be coming home soon. We might be able to catch him going into the building.
LAUREN: Now that would be lucky, huh? It would—
Courtney points out the window.
DAVE ROBERTS steps out of the apartment building. He sports a goatee and long hair; he doesn’t look like a very nice guy.
COURTNEY points at DAVE through the window. LAUREN is next to her.
LAUREN: What is it, Court?
COURTNEY: That’s him!
LAUREN: Dave? The hitman?
LAUREN: Are you positive?
COURTNEY: Totally. I couldn’t miss that face anywhere.
LAUREN: I don’t believe it.
DAVE climbs into a sports car, which seems out of place in this neighborhood, and revs the engine. He pulls out into the street and drives away.
COURTNEY and LAUREN watch as the car drives away.
LAUREN: What do you want to do?
COURTNEY: Should we follow him?
COURTNEY: C’mon, Lauren, I need to do this.
LAUREN: Courtney, this is really dangerous.
COURTNEY: I know. But I can’t let Shannon win. I can’t let her ruin my life like this.
LAUREN: I know, Court – I’m just really nervous.
COURTNEY: We won’t do anything, Lauren. We’ll just see where he goes.
LAUREN: (hesitant) Alright, okay. Just promise me you’ll be careful.
COURTNEY: Don’t worry, I will. (beat) Now let’s go.
Their CAR pulls away from the curb and heads in the same direction Dave’s went.
Dave’s CAR pulls up in front of the club and DAVE gets out. Another CAR pulls up behind his and parks. Dave goes into the club.
COURTNEY and LAUREN watch as the object of their pursuit disappears into the club.
COURTNEY: I don’t believe it – we went in a circle! We were just here a couple of hours ago!
LAUREN: It’s better that we got here earlier and found out his address. Who knows what might’ve happened if we ran into him here?
Courtney makes a face at the thought.
LAUREN (CONT’D): It’s better that we just got his address from that girl. I just hope she doesn’t mention it to him.
COURTNEY: I don’t think she will. It didn’t sound like she was still in contact with him.
LAUREN: Isn’t it kind of odd that he came here tonight, of all nights? She said he hadn’t been around in a few months.
COURTNEY: Chalk it up to good luck. (beat) At least we have his address … so we can keep on top of what he’s up to.
LAUREN: You wanna keep following him around?
COURTNEY: I sure do – I won’t be satisfied until we can prove he has a connection to Shannon.
TIM, CLAIRE, and BRENT are untying SARAH and the FOUR OFFICERS. JAMES, ALAN, and SEVERAL GUARDS try to stop them by pulling them away. Various shouts are heard during the struggle.
TIM: Get off of me!
ALAN: Never! We won’t let you get away!
BRENT: Like hell you won’t!
SARAH: Guys, get me out of here!
JAMES: Stop being so foolish, all of you! You’ve been defeated!
Some of the guards lash out and knock Tim and Claire to the floor. As Brent struggles to untie the prisoners, James backs out from the struggle.
CLAIRE: You’re not gonna win … James.
JAMES: What did you call me?
CLAIRE: James.
JAMES: I am your father! You will address me with respect!
TIM: She doesn’t owe you any respect at all!
JAMES: That’s ridiculous—
CLAIRE: He’s right. That’s exactly how I feel.
JAMES: After everything you’ve done to me, Claire—
CLAIRE: Everything I’ve done to you? What a load of crap that is!
James opens his mouth to speak, but Claire silences him with a wave of the hand.
CLAIRE (CONT’D): Look at what you’ve done to me! You had my husband shot, you kidnapped my son, you held us hostage down here in this—this cage … And you show no remorse at all! You actually try to blame it on me!
JAMES: Claire—
CLAIRE: Shut the hell up and listen to me. After everything you’ve done, you have no respect from me. As far as I’m concerned, my father is dead.
James stands in stunned silence, unable to respond for several moments.
In the background, Brent has untied Officer #2, and they are busy trying to get past the guards and Alan to untie Sarah and the rest of the officers.
JAMES: Claire, I never meant—
TIM: You should’ve thought of the consequences long before you pulled any of this, James.
JAMES: You butt out! You’re the one who turned her against me!
TIM: I did no such thing—
CLAIRE: Leave Tim out of this, Dad. This is in no way his fault. I love him – my life is with him now. You are completely and totally to blame for this.
JAMES: It was him! You said you’ve known for years that I was mixed up with the mob; you never said anything about it, you never hated me before! You were always my little girl.
James is on the verge of tears now. Claire is simply furious.
CLAIRE: I never knew what you were doing! I thought maybe it involved money or something. But when it got this close to me, I realized the evil you’re capable of … I saw the havoc you cause in people’s lives.
JAMES: Claire, please – give me another chance! I never meant to hurt you—
CLAIRE: Like Tim said, you should’ve thought before you did any of this. (beat) I hate you!
JAMES: Please, no – you don’t mean that. You love me – you always have.
CLAIRE: I loved the man I thought was my father. Now I see who you really are – and I hate that man!
James is growing angry. The crowd in the background has stopped struggling as they watch the showdown between father and daughter. Tim stands next to Claire, unwavering but silent.
JAMES: (screaming) It’s all your fault!
He points at Tim and charges at him.
She receives no response as James grabs Tim and shoves him against the walkway railing, bending his head backwards.
JAMES: You’ve ruined my life, Tim Fisher – and now I’m gonna ruin yours.
He tries to push him over, but Tim resists.
CLAIRE: Stop it! Please!
JAMES: He deserves it, Claire! He turned you against me!
CLAIRE: Please – stop!
James continues to try to push Tim over the railing. Claire comes up from behind and pulls him off of her husband.
CLAIRE (CONT’D): Just stop this!
James grapples with her as well, trying to get back to Tim. Tim comes back over to pry James away, and James turns away from Claire to strangle Tim. He again tries to push him over the railing.
Claire tries to pull James away from Tim. She grabs him, but slams him against the rail. It breaks open and James falls through. He plummets off the walkway and the crowd watches him fall into the vat of acid. A large splash of acid jumps up as his body vanishes under the surface.
We see the shocked reactions of all present, starting with Sarah, then Brent, Alan, and Tim. Out on the devastated Claire, who stares down at the acid in shock.

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